All female ride-sharing app coming to streets of Toronto
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Thursday, March 15, 2018 5:40PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 15, 2018 8:27PM EDT
A ride-sharing application for women, by women is coming to the streets of Toronto.
DriveHER, which is set to launch in the city on Friday, is a ride-sharing program that pairs female drivers with female passengers to “ensure the security of every woman on every ride,” the company’s website said.
The founder, Aisha Addo, sat down with CP24 for an interview on Thursday afternoon to discuss the application ahead of its launch.
“This is something that women have been speaking about for a very long time and we listened,” she said.
Addo said the idea came to her after she experienced a situation while using a ride-sharing application that made her feel uncomfortable.
“Not everybody gets the oppourtunity to actually get out of that situation,” she said. “Personally, I’ve had a scenario where I ended up having to call a friend to stay on the phone with me because we were on the highway and cannot really hop off the highway.”
“It actually really got me thinking that what about the people who never really get the oppourtunity, what about the people who maybe don’t have anyone to call or may be a bit tired – that’s where DriveHER comes in to create an alternative to what’s already out there and provide the chance for women to actually go from point A to point B just having peace of mind.”
After working as an accountant and gaining experience in the social work industry and non-profit sector for the past eight years, Addo said she wanted to take her experience of working with women and apply their comments to this new project.
“I think with my experience with working with women, even with working with young girls, this was something that I heard all the time and just really being able to provide that for them is amazing,” she said.
The company said safety is their main priority.
“We included safety tips in the app as well for women and drivers and then we also included a safety feature where if you are travelling and at whatever point you feel uncomfortable or there is an incident you can hit that button and it would alert us right away and we would most definitely look into that,” Addo said.
“This also allows for people to report incidents quicker and it gives us the oppourtunity as a company to investigate right away because it would give us an alert in real time.”
The company has also partnered with shelters in the city to provide free or subsized rides to women and children in precarious situations.
In a news release issued on Thursday, the company said about 1,000 riders have expressed interested in the application and more than 100 people are interested in becoming drivers.
When asked about co-existing with other ride-sharing apps and traditional taxi services, Addo said she believes it is possible.
“It’s a matter of choice and it’s a matter of creating options,” she said. “In the past, options have not been available for women so (it) most definitely can.”
Men make up 85.1 per cent of drivers in Canada’s taxi industry, according to DriveHER.
According to the company’s website, male companions are allowed to accompany female passengers during riders but it is “up to the driver to decide to take them or refer them to another service.” The website said if the male companion is accepted and is travelling to a different destination, he must be dropped off before the female passenger as the “female passenger must be the last to exit the car.”
The company also said that passengers’ safety is “priceless” and promises they will never have to worry about surge pricing.
The app will be available on both Android and IOS devices following a news conference scheduled for Friday at noon.